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Asbestos in Saskatchewan

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was regularly used in buildings from the 1950s until the late 1990s. If products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibres are released into the air. When they are breathed in, they can become trapped in the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time these fibres can accumulate and lead to serious health problems.

Owners, employers, employees and contractors should understand the risks of asbestos as well as know how to identify and handle asbestos-containing materials.  There are some cases where working with asbestos is considered a high-risk process  and the Occupational Health and Safety Division must be notified 14 days before starting the process.

The Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings lists buildings in Saskatchewan that contain asbestos as per The Public Health Act, 1994 which requires the Provincial Government, Crown Corporations, health regions, and all facilities used as public schools to provide and post information about the presence of asbestos in those buildings.

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1. Saskatchewan Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings

The Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings lists buildings in Saskatchewan that contain asbestos as per The Public Health Act, 1994 which requires the Provincial Government, Crown Corporations, health regions, and all facilities used as public schools to provide and post information about the presence of asbestos in those buildings.


Requirements for Building Owners

The Public Health Act, 1994 requires building owners to assess and identify asbestos-containing material (ACM) within all buildings that are owned by:

  • The Provincial Government;
  • Crown Corporations;
  • Treasury Board Crowns;
  • Regional Health Authorities or affiliates; and
  • buildings used as schools as defined by The Education Act, 1995

Owners are required to submit information about ACM within their buildings to the Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings.

The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996  provide clarity of definitions, what forms of asbestos are to be reported, and indicate what information is required to be reported, such as type, characteristics, accessibility, and location. Compliance and enforcement of the Act and regulations came into effect on June 1, 2014.

A safety professional, consultant or person who has asbestos knowledge, experience and training can do this assessment.

The assessment includes the type of ACM (e.g., insulation, boiler and pipe insulation, ceiling stipple, ceiling or floor tile). Only materials or groups of materials that meet the definition of an “asbestos-containing material” (ACM) are listed in the Registry. Or, the material may be untested but deemed to be ACM (See Regulation, 334(2)).

This assessment also includes characteristic information such as:

  • friability (a material is friable if it can be crushed using hand pressure);
  • concentration of asbestos in the material if it is known; and
  • specific details about the material for easy identification such as colour, shape, size, texture.

As well as a description of the accessibility, for example:

  • controlled by physical barriers or administrative procedures;
  • enclosed by drywall;
  • inside cindercrete block;
  • encapsulated with a sealant (common in stipple ceiling materials); and
  • encapsulated with non-asbestos cloth or metal (common with wrapped pipe or painted putties or joint compounds).

How to Register a Building

If you’re a building owner, you are responsible for entering information related to the location of asbestos in your public buildings to the Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings.

  1. You will be required to set up a user account on the registry. You can manage your account, edit, and delete information related to your facilities within the registry.

  2. Employers, contractors, and owners can deem material as asbestos containing until it is determined to be asbestos free.
    • For example, vintage vinyl tiles from the 50s and 60s can be deemed and listed as potential asbestos containing materials. Materials deemed as ACM must meet all legislative requirements.

  3. Building owners must regularly review the information posted on the registry to ensure that it is kept up-to-date. As asbestos changes occur, the registry must be updated.
    • For example, if pipe insulation is removed, and it is listed on the registry as ACM, the change must be made to the Registry.

  4. If buildings are sold to owners not prescribed by The Public Health Act, 1994, or bought by prescribed owners, the information must be updated in the registry.

Update the Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings

How to search the Registry

Find asbestos-related information for all buildings owned by the Provincial Government, health regions, Crown corporations, and facilities used as public schools.

Search the Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings

If you need help searching and accessing the registry, please see the Saskatchewan Asbestos Registry in Public Buildings User Guide – Searching.

Warranty Disclaimer

The Saskatchewan Asbestos Registry of Public Buildings contains information that may be voluntarily posted by public agencies. Information on the Asbestos Registry is provided as a public service by the Government of Saskatchewan. The Asbestos Registry, and all of the information it contains is provided strictly "as is" and without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

We cannot guarantee that all information is complete, current, or accurate. Users should verify information before acting on it.

There may be websites linked to and from this site that are operated, created by, or for organizations outside of the Government of Saskatchewan. Those organizations are solely responsible for the operation and information (including the right to display such information) found on their respective websites. The linking to or from this site does not imply on the part of the Government of Saskatchewan any endorsement or guarantee of any of the organizations or information (including the right to display such information) found on their respective websites.

Limitation of Liabilities Disclaimer

The information found on the Asbestos Registry is for informational purposes only, and may only be used on the strict understanding that neither the Province nor its ministers, employees, or agents, nor any of the public agencies which voluntarily post information, shall be liable to any persons for any loss or damage of any nature, whether arising out of negligence or otherwise, which may be occasioned as a result of the use of information provided on the Registry, or information provided at any other website that can be accessed from this website.

The information in the Asbestos Registry is for public, informational purposes only, and does not in any manner supersede or derogate from The Workers’ Compensation Act, 1979 and The Saskatchewan Employment Act.

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2. Understanding, Identifying and Handling Asbestos

Owners, employers, employees and contractors should understand the risks of asbestos as well as know how to identify and handle asbestos-containing materials.  There are some cases where working with asbestos is considered a high-risk process and the Occupational Health and Safety Division must be notified 14 days before starting the process.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material which was regularly used in buildings from the 1950s until the late 1990s. It was widely used as insulation and fire proofing solution in countless building products, but as it was often mixed with other materials, it can be hard to know if you’ve found it or not.

In particular, it can typically be found in products like:

  • ceiling tiles
  • floor tiles
  • pipe insulation
  • boilers
  • sprayed-on coatings

How Asbestos Can Affect Your Health

Repairs, maintenance, renovations and other processes may disturb asbestos-containing materials and release asbestos fibres into the air. If asbestos fibres are inhaled this can cause chronic, irreversible and life-threatening lung diseases. These diseases, which can occur several decades after exposure, include asbestosis (a lung scarring disease), lung cancer and mesothelioma.

As long as the asbestos is well maintained and not disturbed or disintegrating, it doesn’t present an immediate risk to your health.

How to Safely Handle and Remove Asbestos

The Guidelines for Managing Asbestos in Buildings provides the specific steps to take when managing asbestos.

Any material likely to contain asbestos is considered to be asbestos-containing material until it is determined to be asbestos-free.

To control exposure to asbestos in the workplace, building owners and employers must:

  1. Identify and create an inventory of all asbestos-containing materials in the building.

    Building owners and employers must ensure that a competent person creates an inventory of all asbestos-containing materials in the building. The inventory can be completed by reviewing the building’s architectural plans and performing a walk-through inspection of the building.

  2. Regularly inspect and maintain all asbestos-containing material identified in the inventory list and determine if any damage exists.

    After all asbestos-containing material has been identified and listed (inventoried) it must be carefully inspected for damage. If damage exists, building owners and employers must decide on the safest method for addressing this damage, based on the use of the asbestos (i.e. thermal insulation, ceiling tile, etc.), amount of damage, potential for asbestos fibres to be released into the air (creating an exposure hazard).

    Although the method to address any damaged asbestos material must be decided on a case-by-case basis, some methods include:

      • Removing all or part of the asbestos (abatement);
      • Sealing the surface of the asbestos (encapsulation); and/or
      • Building an air-tight barrier over the asbestos (enclosure).

  3. Train all staff who are expected to work with or near asbestos about safe work procedures before they begin work that could disturb asbestos.

    Before any work begins with or near the asbestos material, building owners and employers must develop and put safe work procedures in place. The purpose of safe work procedures is to eliminate or control potential worker exposure to asbestos. Workers must be trained in these procedures, according to their job duties and comply with these procedures.

    While some workers may only need to know where the asbestos material is located, and to be careful not to disturb or damage the material, others who are expected to work with or near the asbestos material, (i.e. maintenance staff) will require more specific training on its handling, removal and disposal.

Notification of High Risk Asbestos Process

There are some cases where working with asbestos is considered a high-risk process. Employers, contractors and owners must notify the Occupational Health and Safety Division 14 days before the process starts by completing a Notification of High Risk Asbestos Process Form. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996 provide details on high-risk processes.

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